The Growth of My Rings
Before I leafed out and bloomed beyond your intention, you sprinkled patented faith and planted your seeds. You created small pilgrims, incubated with wishes.
Eventually, we found our navels, climbed our birth cords, and looked upon your gardening labels. My sister sprouted sunflowers. My brother bore blueberries. But I could never read your language, so I dreamed of tulip trees and aimed beyond my roots.
In that garden, at first, you fertilized with love and aerated with play. We sang with bees about the bullfrog Jeremiah, and indulged with clover on a diet of sun. We danced with ladybugs, shaking it all about. We linked branch-to-branch, calling Red Rover on over. At night, you repeated the history you’d written, while my quiet hopes wandered and invented.
Then one day, the clouds became plums, and amidst a monsoon, the wind carried whispers of a different story. I grabbed the heavens and drank the sky. I offered you an arc, grafted to my side.
How was I to know your world depended on our pasture’s fences? How was I to know you’d see no path but refusal? So I grew, moving away from you.
Do you remember those times, before what was to come? Before you cursed me thorn and thistle? Before you recruited my brother and sister? Before you choked my roots and bruised my branches?
For years, I hated the soil and allowed my sap to run bitter. I needed decades to clear the confusion.
And yet our shared yesterdays still live, etched within the growth of my rings: Honeysuckle perfumes memory within those flashes of days in our garden. We play tag with grasshoppers, anxiously listen as worms and grubs tell ghost stories, then lie down and allow the sun to swaddle us, before the horizon swallows and we sleep.
Danny Plunkett earned his M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Georgia College & State University. He teaches Composition on the Cedar Rapids campus of Kirkwood Community College. His creative interests include weird fiction, horror, and prose poetry. In his spare time, he writes and publishes fiction and poetry, and his most recent work appeared in Dime Show Review. He also enjoys hiking, fishing, and spending time with his wife and St. Bernard mix, Barney.